Receiving a bouquet, walking by a rose bush or coming across a field of wildflowers can instantly create a profound feeling of joy. The mood boosting effects of flowers are not just anecdotal, there is extensive scientific research to support the physiological impact of flowers on brain chemistry. The reason for these effects may be traced back to our hunter-gatherer ancestors, for whom spotting a flower meant the coming of abundance and spring. The flower may have been the first object valued solely for its beauty and not for any survival purpose.  

 

The Duchenne Smile

 

A smile is an easy way to gauge positive emotions, and the Duchenne smile, in which the corners of the mouth are lifted and the skin around the eyes crinkle, is the mark of genuine joy. A 2005 study conducted by Dr. Jeannette Haviland-Jones found that 100% of women in her study exhibited a Duchenne smile upon receiving a gift of flowers;the Duchenne smile was seen in only 90% of subjects who received gifts of fruits and 77% who received candles. Furthermore, subjects who received flowers reported feeling increased positive emotions 3 days later. 

 

Flowers and Physiology

 

Stress is known to elevate blood pressure and trigger a flight or fight response in the body, but  flowers can provide a soothing antidote to stress . In one study, subjects were shown a stressful image, which increased their blood pressure levels,  followed by either an image of a flower, the sky or a chair.  The subjects who viewed images of flowers showed the greatest decrease in blood pressure levels and the quickest recovery from stress.

 

Flowers Make Brains Happy

 

Oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin are important neurotransmitters that create a positive mood, and flowers have a longstanding evolutionary tie to our DNA that gets these chemicals buzzing. In addition to being linked to sunshine and warmth, flowers also represent an important social bond. When you give someone flowers, it helps them feel accepted and socially connected, which stimulates a feeling of wellbeing. 

 

Make someone else happy today by sending a bouquet from Lucy’s Flowers.